What Is The Most Difficult Channel In The World?

What Is The Most Difficult Channel In The World?

After observing Penny Palfrey battle the elements in the 72-mile (115K) Kaieiewaho Channel between Oahu and Kauai, swimmers got to thinking, “What is the most difficult channel in the world?”

The debate could go on forever. Is the greatest obstacle something tangible like cold water – or something potentially dangerous like a shark attack?

In the 19th century, marathon swimmers were looking to replicate Captain Matthew Webb’s 1875 crossing of the English Channel. In the 20th century, marathon swimmers continued to push themselves with swims in the North (Irish) Channel and the Farallones. Now in the 21st century, the open water swimming community is pushing themselves even further with even more audacious attempts. Here are four tough candidates for the most difficult swim in the world.

What do you think?

North (Irish) Channel (between Ireland and Scotland) – 15 successful solo crossings people have crossed this 21-mile (33.7K) channel facing 12°C (54°F) waters in a sea of jellyfish, harsh winds and rough seas.

Bering Strait (between Alaska and Russia) – 1 person has crossed this 2.7-mile channel without a wetsuit facing strong currents, rough seas and water in near freezing waters.

Kaieiewaho Channel (between Oahu and Kauai) – 0 people have crossed this 72-mile channel facing mid-Pacific ocean swells, strong currents, Portuguese Man-o-War and Great White Sharks.

Farallon (between Farallones Island and San Francisco) – 2 people have crossed this 26-mile stretch facing strong tidal flows, Great White Sharks and rough seas.

Lake Pumori (up in the Himalayas) – 1 person has swum 1K in this glacial lake 17,000 feet (5,300 meters) in altitude requiring a hike up Mount Everest to reach the freezing water of 32°F (0°C).

There are many other candidates, but these four are just mind-boggling.

Photo shows Stuart Evans, the first person to swim from the Farallones to the California mainland.

Other polls that pose interesting open water swimming questions are posted here.

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